Aunty Manjula’s Sarina Pudi

This recipe comes from my Indian food writer friend Manisha Harkins. It is her aunt’s special blend of roast and ground spices for seasoning rasam – a wonderfully restoring South Indian soup also known as saru. The recipe was handed down from her mother. As Manisha says, count yourself lucky that her aunt shared her secret.


  • vegetable oil 1 tbsp
  • asafoetida powder 1 tsp
  • black peppercorns, preferably Malabar, 2 tbsp
  • cumin seeds 2 tbsp
  • black mustard seeds 2 tbsp
  • fenugreek seeds 2 tbsp
  • coriander seeds 100 g/ oz
  • curry leaves 2 tbsp (about 40 leaves)
  • dried red chillies 50 g/ oz
  • turmeric powder ½ tsp
  • brown sugar ½ tsp


Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a heavy-based frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the asafoetida and peppercorns and stir for a few seconds until fragrant. Remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, dry-fry the cumin seeds for a few seconds until slightly darkened, followed by the mustard and then the fenugreek seeds. Fry each spice separately as the cooking time and temperature vary. Be careful not to let them burn. Add them to the peppercorns and asafoetida.

Heat a second teaspoon of oil and dry-fry the coriander seeds and curry leaves, stirring all the time, until fragrant. Remove and add to the other spices.

Heat the final teaspoon of oil and fry the chillies until fragrant. Combine all the spices, including the turmeric, and mix in the sugar. Grind to a fine powder in a clean electric coffee grinder, or use a mortar and pestle. Store in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 months.